To quote what a certain Magic God would say to a certain unfortunate high school boy...
So, everyone still in there? I'm really grateful to the people who still follow this despite the massive delays in updates... thank you, seriously!
Well it's an update that had supposed to be shown last month. If there were a few who actually view my profile for updates, they'd have noticed that this chapter was marked complete for a long while already but was under beta scrutiny.
I've noticed how long it's been since i actually updated... well I can only really apologize again. It's my final year in college, need to keep my grades up, need to handle the implementation of my undergrad thesis and fight with everything I've got for graduation.
It's still an uphill battle but I like to think I'm doing pretty damn well.
Anyway, continuing, I've always wanted to try out having a beta but considering my current busy life, I wanted said beta to at least be someone who knows me.
Problem was he was just as busy as I was and when we did get the time to discuss the chapter, it became a long conversation on writing devices and characterization.
He was gonna be a one time beta but that was pretty damn fun! Raynare's character presentation was a product of that talk and I was pretty satisfied all things considered.
A bit more setting things up in this chapter since I need to get most of the players for this arc introduced so please bear with that for now. This chapter will also be showing you what role and character will have for this fic.
Oh by the way, just a few things before we start. I went and changed my name to Nukoko (as influenced by my beta) and this fic might just be changed to M because Raynare has really foul mouth... there still won't be lemons though if i do change the rating.
Well if you've read this before you know where to find things. Right below is the chapter, right below that is the omake, below that the Author's corner where I put stuff about the chapter and answer some of the reviews.
Disclaimer: Don't own HsDxD and its characters.
You guys have fun, I'll be going back to the literal drawing table while you read. Special thanks to Jono for being a beta and minor editor for this chapter alone!
==The Dream of the Infinite==
'Damn… how troublesome… Exactly why the hell do I have to be the one to watch over that idiot?'
Though she was completely and utterly annoyed right now, not a single hint of it can be seen on her gently smiling face. Right now she was working undercover as a human and so she had no choice but to keep up appearances.
On the inside she was about ready to unleash a few hundred spears of light on the next fool that would greet her while eyeing her like a piece of meat, on the outside though, she looked like a perfect angel that could would break into tears with the slightest bit of teasing.
'Ahhhhhh… I could be back at the institute helping Azazel-sama but nooooo… I have to get stuck in this place with the damned humans! I just wish I had a different cover than this Amano Yuuma…'
Her superior and object of admiration had given her a direct order to observe a certain idiot and his dragons, providing any form of support she could to make sure said idiot didn't inadvertently cause a war between angels, demons and fallen angels. Since the three factions have yet to make peace, it was likely that even a small incident may snowball into a full blown conflict between the three.
To accomplish this, she had to go under the name 'Amano Yuuma', a kind, gentle and homely human girl that greeted everyone with warm smiles and couldn't harm a fly even if she tried. She was supposed to be the normal average feminine teenager that had an interest in cute things and wasn't really keen on sports.
Basically, she needed to pretend to be everything she wasn't.
'Oh well now I just need to learn how to sing sappy songs about love and friendship and befriend furry little animals so I can pass off as a freaking pretty little princess!'
She sent a friendly wave towards the delivery boy that was smiling goofily towards her all the while reaching untold levels of self-deprecation and sarcasm within her own mental world.
It was her way of coping.
She then saw someone drop a wallet on the ground and proceeded to casually, elegantly, and kindly return the item. She promptly went on her way after being thanked profusely.
'Haaaah… we were supposed to meet up earlier as well! Where the heck is that idiot?!'
The fact that the person she was supposed to be supporting has yet to appear also added to her ever growing annoyance with her current situation.
[Ehhhh! Pyon pyo pyo pyon pyo pyon—]
She quickly checked her phone as she heard, as she liked the put it, the absolute most annoying song her ears had had the misfortune of hearing. She even doubted that that even qualified as a song in the first place. Unfortunately, Amano Yuuma was also someone who was fond of such things and so she had no choice but to put up with it.
The birds have been migrating.
The bats have been sleeping.
The crows will remain watching yet they are wary of the black feathers being spread around.
The nest itself seem to house all three. Be sure to take good care of the pet.
'Tch… damn it'
She mentally clicked her tongue and pretended to have received a text from a friend and replied happily to what was definitely a report by one of their scouts. She immediately closed her phone and hastened her steps just a bit. She needed to meet up with Ise quickly.
'There's been a lot of strange movements in both the underworld and human world. Even the church seems to be strangely more active than they should be… Is the enemy making a move soon? Have they already made a move?'
They had no way of actually predicting what kind of movement Rizevim would make. If they followed what they knew from the parallel world then nothing major should happen for a year more.
Unfortunately, countless events that had not happened in the parallel world have taken place invalidating whatever timeline they could follow. One of the most notable ones being Ise's encounter with Shalba Beelzebub as well as…
She quickly shook her head so she wouldn't have to think back on that incident. Though said incident was her first meeting with Issei Hyoudou and his dragons as well as the turning point of her life, there were too many unpleasant memories from that she didn't like to recall.
'In any case, we already have several fallen angels tracking the moves of the church. That white dragon emperor and his group should be able to track the movements of the magicians and the old faction. If something comes up we should at least have enough to minimize whatever damage it may cause. Right now I just have to focus on helping the idiot'
They had to be wary of strange incidents happening. Even things that could be passed off as coincidences or happenstance were not to be ignored. The lack of peace between the three factions meant they were on shaky ground so even a single major incident may lead to the worst outcome.
'Tch… this really is damn troublesome…'
Clicking her tongue once again and momentarily struggling to keep up her smile, she took a few breaths to calm down.
After turning another corner, she finally reached the person she'd been looking for. She was greeted with an image of Hyoudou Issei stiffly walking back and forth.
"Really now… we're seeing trouble in the horizon and he's just moping around here like an idiot…"
She took a step forward and spoke.
Fortunately, she didn't have to keep up appearances with him.
==The Dream of the Infinite==
Ise was pretty nervous. Any feeling of excitement and elation he may have had before leaving his house has already left him.
He had already fought against monsters that any other existence would never even wish to face. At this point in time he could confidently say that he wouldn't even flinch if the angels, fallen angles and devils where to come down right in front of him and wage war.
Given he wouldn't be able to do a damn thing against any of them in a real fight but he certainly wouldn't flinch or panic. He may be decently experienced but it wasn't like he could take on angels or high class devils. He actually preferred not to fight if he could in the first place.
What's more, he was the sparring partner for Ophis and Great Red. That alone should've already made sure that he had nerves of steel. It was pretty much a requirement when you had to take on attacks that could turn whole cities into dust.
Yet despite all that he was rather jumpy as he made his way to Kuoh academy.
Maybe it was the fact that he wasn't sure exactly how to interact with people that he's gotten to know so well from his dreams. Unlike some of the dragons or fallen angels that were close to him, the members of the Occult Research Club, the Student Council, as well as his former classmates would definitely not have the same level of familiarity he had of them.
Given the kind of deeply personal things he knew of them, they would be far more inclined to believe he was some kind of accomplished stalker. At the very least he doubted that anyone would believe he obtained said confidential information from the memories of his older parallel world self that he sees through dreams.
Even he had trouble believing it himself.
Azazel had already cautioned him about revealing too much. He was supposed to keep his dreams secret and to make sure that he didn't act too familiar with the others. He wasn't supposed to even meet most of them until his second year and there was also the fact that the three major factions weren't allied yet.
Honestly, a lot was riding on him considering the fact that his actions might literally incite a war if he wasn't too careful.
"Crap… If I screw up then we might really have a war…"
He took in a few deep breathes as he paced back and forth. The two dragons masquerading as bracelets were oddly quiet though he chalked that up to the two talking privately. He still hasn't gotten a hold of that mental communication thing they sometimes do like what Great Red always does but he wasn't really good with those kinds of things in general.
"C-calm down Ise... think of something calming... think of oppai... yes... that should help me calm down..."
"Exactly what heck are you doing moping around here like an idiot?"
He flinched as he heard the voice that he was a bit too familiar with for his comfort.
"You're late you fool, exactly how long do you where you going to make me wait? Azazel-sama had forced me to support you while in Kuoh Academy to make sure you don't make this any more troublesome than it already is."
He looked at the person in question. She had black hair tied up into a pony tail and was wearing the unique female Kuoh academy uniform. She had an irritated expression as she scowled at him. Her violet eyes looked at him like he was some kind of useless piece of trash that was randomly thrown on the sidewalk.
Raynare or Amano Yuuma, as she was currently known as. She was a fallen angel he had happened to meet during his travels with Ophis and Great Red. That particular memory was cringe worthy considering what had taken place, as well as several other bad memories he would rather not recall at the moment, but it had somehow ended with Raynare being privy to his secrets as well as becoming a sort of friend to him.
"What the hell are you staring at you piece of trash? I said hurry up and follow me! If weird rumors about us start because of this, I swear to Azazel-sama I'll bore a hole in that empty head of yours with a spear of light"
Yes, a friend. Raynare was, despite her personality that liked to rain verbal abuse on him, a comrade he could relatively rely on.
"M-Morning Raynare… did Azazel-sensei have any other instructions?"
He asked politely as he followed Raynare, carefully walking a few feet behind her.
"None. Azazel-sama didn't have anything else to add. Just make sure not to associate yourself with any of devils in the school while keeping the dragons' existence a secret…"
He was surprised when Raynare stopped walking and gave him a look.
He froze on the spot and started wondering what she expected him to do or if he had done anything wrong but after a whole minute had passed, he realized why she was staring at him.
He then took a step forward, deciding to walk right beside her instead of behind.
He breathed a sigh of relief when Raynare faced forward and began walking.
'I really don't get her at all…'
It was a quiet walk to school. The silent lull brought him some measure of peace and it had actually been a refreshing change of pace in his otherwise battle-filled life.
He took a peek beside him where Raynare was walking beside him at the same pace. The gentle smile on her face told him that the fallen angel had already settled into her carefully crafted façade that she used in public.
He pitied any guy that would fall for it, like his former self had. Unbeknownst to the general populace, under that elegant and taciturn shell was a sadistic and vindictive woman that could hold a grudge for eternity. If god was actually still alive then he would have sent his thanks that the fallen angel was actually a sort of friend of his. In this world at least.
During their first encounter, he had felt an extreme amount of disgust and anger at the mere feeling of her presence. He could barely look her way without going wanting to kill her on the spot. It was only when he had actually glimpsed the memories of his former self in the form of dreams when he understood why exactly he had felt that way.
Amano Yuuma, Raynare, was the first girlfriend of the former Hyoudou Issei. The first girl who had ever given someone like him the time of day. The first supernatural existence that he had actually interacted with and…
The person that had lied, tricked, and murdered the former him in cold blood. The person that had destroyed his former self's self-esteem and confidence with words mocking his very existence as she plunged a spear of light through his body.
Raynare was the one that had signaled the start of former Hyoudou Issei's life as a devil.
On one hand, he had every reason to not want to be anywhere near the fallen angel. On the other hand…
'That world and this world aren't the same'
"Is something wrong Ise-san?"
"Eh? Ah… it's nothing, just thinking of some stuff"
"For someone like you, it's better to simply go with the flow and act natural instead of trying hard to pretend. You're neither an actor nor are you even good at lying so don't try too hard doing something you aren't used to. That'll just attract more unnecessary attention."
He gave a nod towards her as acknowledgement. The sudden politeness she as displaying was also another facet of her façade.
They spent a good minute in awkward silence. Though they've known each for a few years now, the moments when the two of them were completely alone together were far and few in between. Ophis, Great Red, Azazel and sometimes Vali and his team were usually always there with them.
Ise can't really just forget what happened to his former self and Raynare knows it. He saw Raynare as a friend and he was pretty sure she saw him like that as well.
He honestly wanted to get along better with her. It's just that he doesn't have the slightest idea on what to talk about with her.
"So Ise-san, how have the ribbons worked out? Though it is one of Azazel-sama's work, even he was not able to guarantee that the ribbons would last. At the very least I can't sense them right now, did you and your dragons finally understand that you can continue to exist without needing to be attached to each other?"
Thankfully it seems like Raynare had that intention as well.
"A-ah well we haven't exactly tested it with the devils and they're both right here with me, though they're pretty dormant right now and Ddraig is sleeping. Besides, we both know you'd never separate from Azazel-sensei if you could help it so you're not in the position to judge!"
Despite the stutter, he was able to say a decent come back, causing a Raynare to scoff in response. She then glanced at the bracelets he had on.
"True Shapeshifting… to be able to transform your body to anything you please… how frightening…"
She made a short pause before giving an ominous smile at him. He could feel a chill go down his spine.
"Heh… you know Ise-san, Azazel-sama had said that true dragons don't really have a gender… There's also the fact that Ophis had apparently assumed the form of an old man. Basically… wouldn't that mean that Ophis can have a di-"
'DON'T YOU DARE GO THEEEEEERE!"
Before Raynare could cause irreparably mental damage, Ise had covered her mouth as quickly as he could. Raynare casually batted his hand away, the smile turning into a full blown sadistic grin. She then renewed her mental assault on him.
"How rude. I was just stating a fact you know… Besides, love comes in different forms. Even if she had that on her body, I'm pretty sure you can still find a way to enjoy yourselves. In fact there's this fetish I heard of where…"
"Lalalaalalalal! I can't hear yoouuuuuuuu!"
In order to defend against the formidable mental attack by his sort-of friend, he had to resort to an advance technique.
It was called covering his ears, trying to drown out sound by speaking loudly, and entering a state of mind that allows him to filter out any traumatic images.
He could only hope it would last long enough till they reached school.
==The Dream of the Infinite==
The atmosphere in the room was tense. A crimson haired girl and a black haired bespectacled girl were seated directly in front of each other, their face filled with seriousness.
On the middle of the two was a chessboard. Th black and white checkered board made of marble seemed like some kind of battlefield for an epic war. The pieces, one crimson, the other aquamarine, seemed to have a life of their own as each seemed to be warriors standing proud on the field, ready to move, fight, and die on their king's command.
The crimson pieces seemed to be advancing steadily. The crimson pawns were pushed forward, almost overstretched into enemy territory, positioned so as to protect the crimson queen and one knight that were approaching the enemy king, ready to take any piece that dare touch them. The crimson king had already been castled on the queen side, though the advancement of piece had left only a knight, rook, and a single pawn for its protection. The crimson pieces seemed focused on offense, attempting to dominate the board and expand the space they could move in, all the while waiting for an opportunity to end the game.
The aquamarine pieces, though seemingly cornered, weren't fettered. Each piece was well guarded and were prepared to retaliate if the crimson queen and knight were to dare attempt to take their king. They controlled less space and hence had less tactics and strategies to utilize yet two aquamarine bishops seemed to be ominously waiting for just the right moment to strike. One bishop occupying the black tiles was already limiting the movement of the crimson king. The other bishop occupying the white tiles seemed to be inconspicuously placed among the enemy pieces.
As if a bell had rung, the hand of the bespectacled girl moved her aquamarine queen directly in front of the crimson king, only a single space between them. A pawn and a knight seemed to serve as its support. The bespectacled girl calmly pressed the game clock to indicate the change of turns.
The crimson haired girl was momentarily surprised. Regardless of the fact that the attacking aquamarine queen was well supported, it didn't change the fact that it would be sacrificed in the following exchange of pieces. What's more, her own crimson queen would be left unharmed.
If one were to convert the pieces into numerical values, it was obvious that the exchange was heavily in the crimson haired girl's favor.
She paused to think on her course of action as she looked at layout of the pieces in the board. The move was suspicious, especially considering who her enemy was. However, her time to think and move her pieces were limited and the moving to defend instead of taking the enemy queen would result in the loss of her precious pieces.
There was but one measly minute for her to think and make a move after all.
Hence, right before the time had run out, she made up her mind and allowed the single pawn protecting her king piece to take the enemy queen.
She quickly pressed the clock to signal the change of turns. The small smile on her had made opponent however made her heart sink.
When she had looked at the board again she had realized her mistake.
The black haired bespectacled girl had momentarily fixed her glasses' position and proceeded to calmly move her bishop, the one inconspicuously placed among the crimson pieces, a few tiles, putting the crimson king in check. The queen had served as nothing more than a sacrifice.
The crimson haired girl looked at the board for any means of defense or escape. Her pawns and most of her other pieces were pushed too far forward. The rook, placed right beside the king, and the knight on king's upper left, could do nothing to block the attack. The crimson pawn, that could have prevented the attack had it not moved to take the aquamarine queen, was utterly useless.
Her crimson king could not move to another colored tile to escape the bishop as the second aquamarine bishop had already marked the area the king could move in.
"It's checkmate, Rias"
The black haired bespectacled girl declared with finality and with a sigh the crimson haired girl, Rias Gremory, raised her hand to tip the crimson king. It fell on the board, signifying her defeat.
"Boden's Mate? Sacrificing the queen of all things to create an opening for the bishops to end the game… that's certainly like you Sona."
"You've always had the tendency to overstretch your pieces and keep on the offense so those kinds of strategies are effective against you. I also took advantage of the fact that you aren't used to playing chess with such strict time constraints"
The variant they played was called 'Lightning Chess', a version that limited turn duration to one minute or less. Compared to normal games that limit turns to an hour or more or casual games that didn't have time constraints in the first place, lightning chess was significantly difficult. Mistakes that could be seen as obvious and stupid made in such a game would be forgivable, especially for someone who isn't experienced with such a fast paced game.
Rias could only sigh. The fact that Sona pulled 'Boden's Mate' during a game that involved one minute turn durations for the player meant that she had wonderfully manipulated Rias' moves from the onset of the game.
Boden's Mate was a checkmating pattern that involved the use of two bishops to win the game. The victim's king's moves were limited by friendly pieces surrounding it. A bishop would then be used to lock down one of the colored tiles while the other would be used to end the game. A piece would be often used as a sacrifice in order to make an unwanted piece from the victim side to move and make the checkmate possible. In this case, a queen was sacrificed to move a pawn obstructing the bishop.
Rias was well aware of the strategy but the having only one minute to think before her turn ends had made it difficult to analyze the Sona's every move.
"Well chess in the underworld mostly follow more traditional rules in terms of time constraints. Other variants are pretty much non-existent."
"That's normal considering the fact that there's a strong correlation between chess and rating games."
They both talked casually as they collected their respective pieces and set them up on the board. Considering that they didn't have the traditional black and white pieces, they simply assigned it as a designation. The placement of the king and queen would be changed accordingly.
"Rating games… all things considered fundamental tactics and strategies in chess games don't exactly translate well to rating games."
"Yes, it's why pretty much no one bothers learning them. There's no reasonable means of imposing time or movement constraints on a rating game. Everyone has different physical conditions and capabilities. Not to mention the fact that a King isn't nearly as helpless in a rating game compared to a chess game."
"Hmmm… yes. Unlike chess, there's no way I would allow my precious peerage to get sacrificed nor would I simply stand and wait for victory by myself when I have enough power to directly influence it"
Sona went first, advancing the pawn in front of her king two spaces and immediately hit the game clock. This time however, the duration of the turn was adjusted to 10 minutes instead of just one.
"Hey Sona, have you gotten any new peerage members yet?"
Rias asked as she mimicked Sona's opening move. Unlike the last game, they actually had enough time for casual conversation.
"None so far. It's only Tsubaki, Tomoe, and myself for now. Though I have heard of a few new interesting individuals among the new batch of freshmen. For now I'm more focused on getting elected as part of the student council."
"You'd easily be able to make President you know. I don't understand why you're running for the Vice President position."
They were already second year students now. Rias was confident that Sona could easily take the student council for her own if she wanted to but Sona's respect for proper procedure and her considerate and meticulous nature probably got in the way of that.
"It's a matter of respect for our senpai. I'd rather not cause her any grief in her last year her in Kuoh. Well putting that aside, how is your peerage fairing?"
This time Sona moved her knight to support the pawn. Rias moved another pawn in response.
"Well Akeno is her usual self… Yuuto coming in this year shouldn't be a problem. If anything its Koneko and Gasper that I'm more worried about."
Sona was aware of the history of the youngest members of her best friend's peerage and their overall personalities. Both were rather reserved by nature and their lack of social interaction with human beings may pose a problem. They can't be blamed though, saying that both had a dark and painful past was putting it lightly.
"I plan on having Koneko stay with me and explore the town on her own to get used to her surroundings. It should help prepare her for getting admitted in the school next year. I'm not quite sure what to do with Gasper though."
"He's still having problem controlling his Sacred Gear?"
"Yes. He's gotten better from training but he still has a tendency to lose control. It's been affecting his self-esteem for a long time, which I'm sure is one of the reasons why he has control problems in the first place."
Rias sighed, too bothered by her thoughts to focus on the game.
"Well a sacred gear capable of controlling time would have already been difficult to manage from the start. I'll see if I can think of something to help him"
"Thanks for that. I've tried a lot of things over the years but I'm not really getting much progress… I was thinking maybe expanding my peerage and letting him bond would them would help"
Rias quickly dispelled the somber atmosphere that had taken over their conversations. Her inability to help Gasper was always something she lamented.
"Did you already have candidates in mind?"
Sona asked, raising her eyebrow, quick to jump at her best friend's attempt to lighten the mood.
"No one really. Though for some reason I feel like both of us will be meeting some interesting people this school year…"
"Ah… yes… well that certainly should be the case"
Sona adjusted her glasses as she thought for a moment before moving one of her pieces. Rias didn't miss the complicated face Sona was making.
"Well you see, it seems we're getting a strange amount of transfer students today."
"Yes. Quite a few actually and I've been informed only yesterday of it."
"Well though that is strange it's nothing impossible. Why do you seem so worried?"
"Normally I wouldn't. However the circumstances regarding every single of them are rather dubious. That and strange movements from the different factions makes it hard to believe it's just all coincidence."
Sona couldn't help but sigh in worry. Receiving several transfer students may have been normal for other schools, but when you're school is devil territory that houses not one but two pure blooded devils that are direct family members of the maous, receiving any transfer student becomes a lot of work.
The background checks alone took a lot of resources, not to mention the paperwork that comes along with it. They had to make absolutely sure that some exorcist or fallen angel would be brave and foolish enough to bring harm on a maou's family.
She gets migraines just from imagining what her sister, Serafall Leviathan, would do if she were to be harmed in anyway.
"I'm guessing the background checks didn't give you anything?"
"Yes. Their histories are, for the most part, normal and unremarkable. Though one of them seemed to have travelled around instead of attending school… we've checked the paperwork involved with that one and it all seems legitimate…"
"Hmm… no point in worrying about it then. We can just get both have ourselves and our peerage observe them if needed. If something comes up, we'll just have to deal with it."
"Yes… that's the plan indeed. I just hope I'm really worrying unnecessarily…"
"Ufufufuf, I wonder if any of them can be part of my peerage? I can't wait to meet them!"
"So that's your intention... Well I can't deny that that's also a possibility but please wait for confirmation of their identities first."
"Fufu, well I'll inform Akeno and Yuuto later. For now… check."
Sona looked at the board and noticed Rias had already been setting up for a checkmate.
"Well at the very least, even if one or more of these transfer students really did have some strange agenda or motive in entering this school, they would certainly not cause some kind of disturbance on their very first day…"
Sona only shook her head and began to think of a way to counter, not realizing that she had just tempted fate.
Unfortunately for her, fate was the type that really liked accepting challenges.
==The Dream of the Infinite==
Raynare was a skeptical person in general. She was the type that assumes and prepares for the worst outcome possible and though she was confident in Ise's combat abilities she didn't exactly have any real expectations that he wouldn't mess up while he was in school.
Ise was pretty damn good in a fight, more so than her in fact, but expecting him to keep out of trouble was the same as expecting two rabbits of the opposite gender, in heat, while in the same cage, to not practice the multiplication table .
It was just very unreasonable to expect him to be able to pull that off.
Hence why she prepared as much as she could. She tried to visualize countless situations and scenarios in order to prepare for each one realistically and even brought a few things that they could use in an emergency situation.
Such items include but are not limited to: a portable magic transportation to the Grigori Institute, a few smoke and flash bomb talismans, and a certain small container that Azazel had given her to open in certain situations only.
She really didn't like the idea of relying on that last one. She may love her Azazel-sama and worship the ground he walks on but she also had enough sensibility to know that the fallen angel governor wasn't exactly always reliable.
Retaining that sensibility despite her other tendencies was why she was trusted with these kinds of work in the first place.
'Thankfully luck seems to be on our side. We were both assigned to the same class while none of the Sitri or Gremory peerage members are with us. The idiot was a bit too awkward in his introduction and I saw a few skeptical face sent our way when we said we didn't really have any deep relations but at the very least nothing has happened yet…'
She was pretending to attentively listen to the lecture being given by the teacher but was actually observing the people around her. She noticed that Ise was fidgeting in his seat, probably not used to staying put in one place for long periods of time.
'Well that's a given considering he's been out adventuring with those dragons of his…'
She looked around again and took in their appearances. They all looked normal. Nothing out of the ordinary. With this, they might just be able to finish the day without incident.
'No one else in the room except for us two seems to require concern or attention though. Lunch break should be soon so that should give me some time to obser—'
Unfortunately, she spoke in her mind too soon.
*KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK*
She was rendered silent in her thoughts by the sudden knocking sound coming from the entrance of the classroom. There was no real reason for her to think that whomever was behind that door would be the source of their problems or trouble but something told her it would.
Everyone seemed to have noticed and had curious expressions on their faces. Ise in particular seemed to have a complicated face for whatever reason.
That face Ise making made Raynare's heart sink to the deepest depths of the abyss. It pretty much assured her this wasn't going to end well.
So she did something she hadn't done in a very long time.
'Please don't ruin it. Just one day… Just one damn day! You god damn dead God, just give us one freaking day! Is having no trouble in one day too much to fucking ask for?!'
The knocking continued and the teacher decided to open the door.
The person whom had been knocking excitedly entered the classroom, her long chestnut hair elegantly swaying in the air, and stood proudly in the front she then began her introduction.
She looked towards Ise and saw his expression. She could only describe it as an accurate rendition of that comical 'jaw dropping to the floor out of shock' she sometimes saw in manga and anime.
She only had one thing left to say in her prayer.
'Fuck all of you in heaven. This shit is why fallen angels and demons exist.'
==The Dream of the Infinite==
The classroom was completely enamored by the newcomer.
"Shidou Irina, a transfer student! I've recently returned to Japan after living in England for a few years. It's a pleasure to meet you and I hope we all get along!"
She bowed right after and locked on to Ise with her violet eyes. She didn't speak for a few seconds, probably trying to find the right words to say.
They haven't seen each other in years and only spoke through mail and letters. There was a lot of things Shidou Irina wanted to say to Hyoudou Issei. However before everything else she had to say the words one should utter when they've found their way back home after ebing away for some time.
"Ise-kun, I've returned! I'm home!"
The class was then greeted by one of warmest smiles in existence. One could almost physically feel and touch the happiness and all the emotions being exuded by that smile.
Sometimes you don't need to see visual effects or dramatic music just to exemplify a seen like in mangas and animes. Sometimes a person's expression and delivery was more than enough.
Like a back-up dancing robots in an obscure musical, everyone in the class had turned towards the target of the smile in complete in perfect sync. The faces everyone in the class had ranged from idle curiosity to murderous jealousy but Ise was a bit too caught up with the appearance of his childhood friend to even notice.
Except for Raynare, who was busy discreetly banging her head on her table as she leveled every curse she knew towards the dead god and heaven for screwing with her on the first day of her mission.
It took another moment before Ise could pick up his jaw from the floor and actually manage a response.
The proud smile Shidou Irina had upon seeing that reaction was something anyone wouldn't ever forget.
==[Omake Segment: How Ise became an Expert Flyer]==
There was probably a time in Hyoudou Issei's childhood when he had wanted to fly with his own power.
It was just a passing desire, something that only came up due to the influence of the anime and movies he liked to watch so much. It wasn't a thought that was out of place at all for a kid.
After all flying was par of the course for any classic hero or villain. To a naïve child, flying was something utterly amazing with no drawbacks at all and signified that you have what it takes to be a hero or villain in the first place.
Now that he thought about it, his past self was so utterly naïve and stupid to even think of wanting to fly.
Flying with you own power was frightening. Unlike riding a plane, it means you'll be going up to insane heights with no support in case of emergencies. One mistake was enough to send you falling down in terminal velocity towards whatever land mass or body of water there was below you.
Sure it would look cool but the very real possibility that you might end up as a blurred object on the ground wasn't endearing in any way.
It wasn't like he was always this afraid of flying before. In fact he was very eager to learn how to do it at first.
It was just that due to a certain incident with a certain flying maniac, who shall remain unnamed, that lead to him experiencing what it actually feels like to be a human bullet, he had sort of developed a fear for flying. The image of rapidly dropping to the ground still haunted some of his nightmares.
He's perfectly fine when he just needs to ride a plane or if someone else was carrying him while flying, but doing so himself is extremely difficult. He didn't even want to take out his wings if could help it. In fact, the image of flying with his own power was capable of making him cringe.
It was why right now he was trembling in fear.
It's not like he was in the dimensional gap again, raised high in the air with no idea how to even use his wings. He was actually watching a video within the safety of his own room with Great Red.
Normally such a situation would be perfectly fine with him. He and Great Red were pretty much family at this point. He spoke to her, trained with her, and played with her all the time.
No, the problem was that the video they were watching was titled: 'Advanced Air Combat Maneuvering'. A video that showcased and explained the highly advanced maneuvers fighter pilots used for airshows and air combat.
He was already hyperventilating with the mere thought of even imitating the simplest of the maneuvers himself.
'Ophis-chan, save meeeeeeeeeee'
He could've left. In fact, he could get up from his seat right now and run for the hills in order to avoid what he feared more than anything else: Private Flying Lessons with Great Red.
[Ise, Ise, look! The next one they're gonna show is the Kulbit maneuver! I don't know what that is yet but it sound awesome!]
Right beside him was Great Red, completely and utterly enamored by the video they were watching. Every now and then she would excitedly tug on him as she commented just how beautiful the maneuvers were. Accompanying her comments with wild hand gestures that made her look like she was performing an interpretative dance.
[O-ohhhhh! That plane just made an extremely tight loop! I doubt the loop is even larger the length of the plane itself! That's amaziiiiing!]
Great Red gave a round of applause as she laughed out loud in joy. If she was an anime character, Ise was sure he'd already be seeing her illuminated while going *kira kira*.
Great Red had such a warm, innocent, heart-felt, and child-like smile that completely robbed him of any intention of leaving. It was like seeing an innocent kid finding out that he just received the toy he's wanted for ages as a present for Christmas.
Even her usual gruff and delinquent like speech pattern was absent. For the first time since he met her, he could actually see her act like the age she appeared to be. She even directly called his name instead of just saying 'boy' like she usually would.
Hence, there was no way for him to resist. There was absolutely no way he would do anything to stop Great Red from smiling like that. That sweet smile needs to be preserved for eternity.
There is no existence within this world, one capable of feeling at least, that has the heart to dare take that happiness away.
Right now he can only hope that Great Red doesn't get any strange ideas after seeing the whole video.
Let it be known that he was completely aware of the inevitable outcome of this, he just liked to think that maybe sometimes the world would humor him. You know, just to shake things up.
[Hahahahaha, that was insane! You humans come up with the best things sometimes!]
That sweet smile never disappeared throughout the whole video.
He already decided that regardless of the outcome of this event that they'll be watching it again, next time with Ophis. He was sure Ophis would love to see Great Red like this.
[Haaaah… to think there was even more to flying than I thought… I was naïve. Until I mastered every maneuver in existence, I cannot call myself a true master of the art of flying…]
Ise's heart sank as he saw that the flag was raised. Despite that, he kept his hopes up. There was still a possibility that the world would give him a break. He would continue to resist to the very bitter end!
[Heh… but I guess it would be impossible even if I did try them out if no one can judge if I'm doing them right….]
At that statement, the sweet smile disappeared and was replaced with a sad, forlorn expression. Ise was sure Great Red wasn't even aware that she was making it. She even returned to her usual speech pattern.
[Ah well, I'll still try anyway. Thanks for watching the stuff with me boy, make sure to tell me if you find some similar stuff]
He was conflicted. His heart and common sense clashed as he considered what he should do at this very moment.
His common sense and self-preservation instincts told him that he should simply accept that statement, agree and move on. Maybe even eat some snacks together.
His heart told him he should do something to remove that forlorn look on Great Red's face. There was a very simple solution to do it and would only take one sentence but it would be very dangerous for his mind and body.
Within the span of a few second, an epic battle between his common sense and self-preservation against heart had occurred. Reasons were given and justifications were made and it was an all-around equal battle until the very end.
Of course that last line was a lie. It was by no means an equal battle. Heart was already doing a victory dance before his common sense and self-preservation instincts could even put up a fight.
His love for Great Red simply overpowered his common sense.
Hence, he blurted out the words that would serve to give him many, many traumatic experiences for years to come.
"I can help you out."
That was the only response Great Red could muster. It was no secret to her that Ise had become afraid of flying ever since her lovely little lesson. Despite what she showed in the surface as a definitive tsundere, she really was regretful about her actions.
That was why Ise's proposal was so surprising.
"I'll help you out. I can… I can just watch you fly and see whether you're doing the maneuvers right. Maybe, I can do some of them with you but… yeah…"
Ise scratched the back of his head, knowing that he wasn't really being very convincing with how he spoke. Even now he was still hesitant.
It took a few more seconds of silence before Great Red was able to pick up her jaw that she had dropped after hearing Ise's statements.
[REALLY?! You're not joking are you!?]
The cute and sweet smile went back in full force. This time with actual sparkles and light emanating from Great Red.
Ise just resigned himself to what was to come.
"Y-yes… though let's not tell Ophis-chan yet. She's still angry about what happened last time…"
[AHAHAHAHAHA! Thank youuuuu!]
He was shocked when he was suddenly hugged by Great Red.
She then proceeded to drag him off to the Dimensional Gap.
"W-wait, we're going now?!"
[Of course we are! I'm just dying to do that Kulbit with my actual dragon body! All I've ever done were large air loops!]
Unbeknownst to them, Ophis had later found out what they did together in their spare time and had simply made a small smile and never interfered. It wasn't until much later that she joined in.
==The Dream of the Infinite==
... aaaaaaaand that's a wrap!
I've always wanted to say that. Now before discussing details about the chapter and how it was written, i'll answer the reviews from last chapter first.
Response to the reviews:
wiERD SpeCtrumz - Thank you for taking the time to review and I'm happy you enjoyed the chapter. I'm actually quite fond of the time travelling plot device and had briefly considered it, however I felt like a lot of the consequences of such an action would be troublesome to deal with and went with this as an alternative.
The canon events of the novel will at least be reflected in the story. The beautiful thing about a parallel world and one of the main reasons I've decided to do it in such a way was so that I can still take what new revelations canon has for this series.
dragon rider - That will certainly happen in the future. This chapter and more events will continue to allude to this event as well as give away tidbits of information.
SSJ3 Kyuubi Gohan - Thank you for the correction! Yes, Issei does retain the memories of being killed by Raynare in the original world. This will of course affect the kind of relationship they'll have.
sandwolf72 - Thank you for your patience and for keeping up with this story despite the insane delays.
The Kokabiel thing? Oh that... I have plans for that.
Ahaha, sorry for taking so long, been a bit busy trying to graduate on time. I'll try to get the next chapter up faster.
WarriorMan199456 - Hey there! It's really has been a long time! Though honestly it feels like yesterday since i've posted the last chapter. Glad to hear from you as always and thank you for keeping up with this story despite the delays. I'm also doing my best in class, do you best as well!
RandomNEET - That gun... yes... that gun will be relevant in the future. Raynare will indeed have a better role compared to cannon. I'd like to explore her character further and see what would've happened if she was actually given a chance to pursue the right path.
With having to write GR and Ophis, writing an OP character is actually very troublesome to do without making it boring so yes, Ise's battle skills may not compare to canon Ise yet but i will at least say he'll pull off some awesome thing!
TazalTerminals - Thank you and hope you find this chapter good as well!
To everyone else who had put up a review since the last update, thank you for taking the time to do so! I hope you enjoy this chapter as well!
So here it is, Raynare in all her serious, two-faced, foulmouthed, actually caring and friendly in her own way, glory! Though I truly did hate her guts when I read the first volume of HsDxD, I was always left with one question..
What would happen if she actually had the chance, the opportunity, to actually be on the right path and serve as a comrade to Ise?
This chapter would be my answer to that one question. Still bitchy, still two-faced, still very sarcastic and even foul-mouthed, but this time her heart and her loyalty are in the right place. Make no mistake though, Ise vividly remembers what happened to his former self at the hands of Raynare and I will not simply let that go. In fact, it will be an integral part of their relationship as friends.
Note that being a serious character, a dedicated tsukkomi, in a world where a Dragon King can and will cook a pair of panties during an important all out battle is a type of punishment itself.
Let us send our best wishes to our resident tsukkomi, Raynare-chaaaan! God knows she'll need it, the HsDxD verse has a battalion of bokes.
Now for Shidou Irina. I've expressed that she was going to have to have more of a significant role this time compared to her cannon counterpart and I will certainly deliver on those words. I'm not really gonna talk anymore about her and the things she brings to the table but she'll certainly mix things up!
I've been alluding to it repeatedly and it will be shown at some point that she, Ise and several other characters had went through something in the past that changed quite a few things.
Also, how did you like that one depiction of a chess match? I'd love to hear your input on that one.
Well that's about it, thank you for reading and keeping up with this story despite massive delays in updates. You guys are freaking awesome for being so patient.
Read and review if you have the time!
See you next chapter!
Now back to school for me. The battle for good grades and graduation isn't over yet...